Orchard Park residents living near property a car dealer wants to convert to a parking lot objected at Wednesday night’s Town Board meeting to rezoning the land.
West Herr Automotive Group wants to knock down a home it owns and expand its Chrysler-Jeep parking lot.
But neighbors living near Southwestern Boulevard where West Herr and other dealers are located said they are tired of dealing with noise, customers test-driving cars, and other traffic they attribute to West Herr, which wants to rezone vacant land on Webster Road, adjacent to 5948 Webster, from residential to business.
Raymond Waite of Auckland Avenue said the two uses, business and residential, are incompatible, and he urged the Town Board to protect the quality of life for residents. “This area was residential long before the car dealers were here,” he said.
“I used to say I live behind car alley,” said Roberta Grundtisch of Webster. “Now I’ll be living in front of car alley.”
She said traffic on Webster, which is off Southwestern, is so busy at times she can’t pull out of her driveway.
“We have noise pollution. We have visual pollution,” said Greg Funk of Breem Street. “The traffic on my street rivals Southwestern Boulevard. I’m asking you to protect the residents.”
The Planning Board has recommended that the Town Board approve the rezoning and that there should be one driveway onto Webster to align with Errington Terrace, with a berm to be built on either side, with landscaping. A landscaped berm also should be placed north of the existing Webster and Breem corner-lot house, the Planning Board said.
One resident asked if Town Board members had any ties to West Herr, or were customers of the company. All board members said no.
John Wabick, vice president for West Herr Automotive Group, said the company had met with neighbors on the proposal. “I felt we were making headway,” he said.
He said a 10-foot berm will have pine trees and a park-like setting. “We are not trying to invade the neighbors,” he said. “From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s going to be much better than it is now.”
“I feel that the purpose of the board is to improve the value and the beauty of our town, and making a parking lot on a residential road devalues my property,” one Webster property owner said.
Town Board members made no decision Wednesday. They said they would check with Planning Board members before voting on the rezoning.